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Southern Gal 2014 "I have sworn thee fair, thought thee bright, who art black as hell, dark as night - Shakespeare" RSS Feed (Houston)

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Golden Age (The Shifting Tides Book 1)
Golden Age (The Shifting Tides Book 1)
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for all fantasy lovers, June 20, 2016
The Golden Age is the first book in the Shifting Tides series. I originally downloaded this book because the cover is gorgeous and the blurb was enticing. The reviews were strong, as well. I didn't need to read a sample to know I should read this book.

Plot

This book has a couple of different things going on.

On one hand, we have Chloe from Phalesia. She's daughter of the first consul, the mayor of her city, and she's friends with the Eldren (shape shifters). She's on a journey to prove herself capable, strong, and worthwhile when tragedy strikes her. She then finds friendship in an unlikely place and ends up doing great things.

On the other hand, we have Dion from Xanthos. He's son of the King, but isn't favored. He loves sailing and doesn't have the talent to be a soldier. He's on a journey of self-discovery, proving his worth, and saving Chloe from her situation.

On yet another hand, we have the competing wills and aims of those in high places. One person seeks to become king in Xathos, while another wants to rule the Eldren in the Wilds, and another will do whatever he can to make sure his life after death is comfortable.

The plot may sound confusing, and it is at first, but it works out very well. Now, I will admit that I almost DNF'd this book around the 50% mark. The middle of the book lags and you can seriously feel it, but something told me to hang on and I'm so glad I did.

This book has some plot twists you can see coming while others completely caught me off guard. I found myself holding my breath, sweating, getting goosebumps, and nearly crying as the plot unfolded. James Maxwell is extremely talented; there's no doubt about that.

Characters

This book has richly developed characters and I loved them all, even the bad ones! This is a rare occurrence, in my opinion, since I don't see such stunning character development in indie books, but it's true.

Our main characters are Chloe and Dion. Chloe is head strong, cultured, and resilient; while Dion is strong, a little crestfallen, and purposeful. In them we find two main characters we can root for and fall in love with. I enjoyed these characters because they were not perfect, they acted within reason, and I felt I could relate to them.

Our story has a couple of villains, depending on how you look at them. To avoid spoiling the book, we have three kinds of villains:
The power hungry villain
The sneaky villain
The Eldran villain

Each villain is believable, deliciously evil, and bad to the bone. You'll find yourself wanting to throw things at them, just like me.

Pacing

This book's pacing is a little strange, I'll admit. It starts off strong, but between the 20-60% it lags severely. I mean, the lag was so bad I almost DNF'd this book. The plot stalled and the most mundane things were given attention; also, the alternating POV's often went over the same material twice. For example, if Chloe's POV walked by a gate and the gate was described, the gate would be described again when Dion's POV walked past it. This was maddening, but I made it through. The last 40% of the book more than make up for this lag, though.

World Building

James Maxwell has created a vivid, lush, and extremely real world. I know what Phalesia looks like, along with Xanthos and Ilea. I understand the bireme's, the villas, and the living quarters. The world building in this book is second to none and will not leave you wanting.

Overall

This book is a new favorite of mine. I truly enjoyed it and hope that you will enjoy it, too.


The Sorcerer's Ascension: Book 1 of The Sorcerer's Path
The Sorcerer's Ascension: Book 1 of The Sorcerer's Path
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A solid Epic Fantasy!, June 18, 2016
The Sorcerer's Ascension is the first book in the Sorcerer's Path series. I originally downloaded it because the premise was interesting, the cover looked nice, and the author had good reviews. All of those things are wins for me, so I jumped head first into this book.

Plot

This book has a major plot and a minor plot. The major plot is Azerick's coming of age and coming to realize his true destiny. The minor plot is the search for Dundalor's armor. Both plots are very interesting, but how they are presenting can get confusing. In the beginning of the book, the chapters alternate between the two plots. This was nice because Azerick was kind of annoying in the beginning of the book, so the minor plot's chapter's were enough to tamp my annoyance. As you continue reading the book, though, the minor plot vanishes completely; bar a few mentions. This was saddening, seeing as I'm really curious about the suit of armor, but I'm hopeful it will be further explained in the next book.

Characters

The main character is Azerick. He's a young, immature, and well-meaning boy who's been through a lot. He loses everyone that means anything to him and uses his wits to survive the brutal streets of the Squatter District (I believe that's what it's called in the book). He's impulsive and stubborn; annoying and loyal, but all in all he's a very likable character that makes me wince and root him on.

Outside of Azerick, there's a multitude of characters that clearly serve to move the plot along. His father is featured early on in the book, but ended up making an exit (don't want to spoil the book). He was fully fleshed out and was so real that I felt the pain when he died. Now, I can't say the same for the people Azerick runs into throughout this book, though.

Off the top of my head, the following characters come and go in this book: his mom, his squatter family, Bran, Bran's crush, Alex, and the guild's head hauncho (the smaller guild). These people aren't really fleshed out; we're moreso told who they are, they interact with Azerick, and then they leave. This was annoying, but didn't stop or hinder my reading experience.

Pacing

This book's pacing is solid. There are points where nothing much is going on, but Deskins sends Azerick on so many tasks, you don't really feel the typical "sag" in the middle of the book. I have to admit, I did tire of Azerick running into the same people all the time and getting the same result, but it served its purpose and I truly enjoyed this book.

World Building

Brock E. Deskins has created a vivid and lush world filled with different provinces. I can literally close my eyes and imagine the world he created; I found myself going there often while reading and it was such a lovely experience. Books these days tend to lack in the world-building area, but this man has it down. Like, for real.

Overall

I truly enjoyed this book and would've finished in a day had a manuscript (one I'm no longer working on) not tied me up. I can see myself reading it again, recommending it, and buying the paperback.


Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 3)
Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 3)
Price: $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for every writer; indie or not, June 17, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a must have for EVERY writer. K. M. Weiland has a firm grasp of writer's craft and gives plenty of example to help you along the way. I HIGHLY recommend!


Structuring Your Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Building Strong and Successful Stories (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 4)
Structuring Your Novel Workbook: Hands-On Help for Building Strong and Successful Stories (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 4)
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for every writer, indie or not, June 17, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is a must have for EVERY writer. K. M. Weiland has a firm grasp of writer's craft and gives plenty of example to help you along the way. I HIGHLY recommend!


Jenga Classic Game
Jenga Classic Game
Price: $10.79
153 used & new from $7.16

5.0 out of 5 stars A great game for students, June 17, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Jenga Classic Game (Toy)
My students loved this game! I'm not that into it, but that doesn't matter. I recommend!


Swiffer Wetjet Pads With The Power Of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 20 Count
Swiffer Wetjet Pads With The Power Of Mr. Clean Magic Eraser 20 Count
Price: $12.68
18 used & new from $7.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Cheaper at Costco, but a good deal nonetheless, June 17, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I use these with my swiffer wet jet. They are cheaper at Costco.


Perfection Game
Perfection Game
Price: $10.29
75 used & new from $2.70

3.0 out of 5 stars This game is VERY small, June 17, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Perfection Game (Toy)
This isn't the original game I played growing up. It's half the size and has so few pieces you ALWAYS win. Do not recommend.


iScholar Gross Pack Pencils, #2, Yellow, Box of 144 (33144)
iScholar Gross Pack Pencils, #2, Yellow, Box of 144 (33144)
Price: $15.99
7 used & new from $15.27

4.0 out of 5 stars A good deal for a teacher in need, June 17, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I bought these pencils, so my students wouldn't have an excuse not to do their work. They don't sharpen extremely well, but they serve their purpose. I will by ticonderonaga next time.


Neenah Astrobrights Premium Color Paper Assortment, 24 lb, 8.5 x 11 Inches, 500 Sheets, Neon
Neenah Astrobrights Premium Color Paper Assortment, 24 lb, 8.5 x 11 Inches, 500 Sheets, Neon
Price: $13.99
6 used & new from $13.57

5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for every teacher out there!, June 17, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I absolutely love this card board! I used it to create literacy stations (I'm a teacher)! I HIGHLY recomend!


Swiffer WetJet Multi-purpose Floor Cleaner Solution Refill Open Window Fresh Scent 2 count of 1.25L
Swiffer WetJet Multi-purpose Floor Cleaner Solution Refill Open Window Fresh Scent 2 count of 1.25L
Offered by Best Buy New York
Price: $15.66
10 used & new from $10.45

5.0 out of 5 stars I HIGHLY recommend!, June 17, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
A great price, though it can be found cheaper in Costco. I use this solution in my Swiffer Wet Jet in my classroom. It works very well and smells nice!


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